Anonymous asked in PetsDogs · 10 years ago

Showing vs. Working Dog Temperament?

This might be a stupid question...but its sooo quiet on Y/A today and I figure I'd ask....

Working breeds...seems that some breeders ONLY show their dogs. GSDs come to mind, where you have the working dog vs. the show dog and the noticeable differences between them.

I'm guessing also that these differences are not only physical.

Lets say a big ol' NON dog myself...decides to purchase a well bred a pet..possibly some classes/activities..but nothing serious. The dog will not be shown or worked...

Would it matter which "side of the fence" you'd choose from? Working or Show?

Specifically myself and my father, who of course knows, were discussing the somewhat "rare" breed ...the Caucasian Shepherd. To summarize his view on this...working dogs should be bred FOR working....anyone that ONLY SHOWS that particular breed doesnt know wtf they are doing and no one in their right minds should buy a dog from them, b/c how can you truly evaluate a dog w/o having him/her do the specific job that it was bred to do...etc...etc...etc...

anywho..he got a little overheated on that ;)

bottom temperament affected if you breed only show dogs...from generation to generation...??


@Uhave2Be...Pomeranian sled teams are definitely NOT something I've ever heard off...

Daddy-o is of old school eastern european his views are always extreme!

13 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'd assume that naturally the dogs would be more active and have a higher drive, but I can't prove that.

  • 10 years ago

    Haven't viewed the other answers, but right off the bat I would say that it indeed matters, as it is kind of a general rule that many show lines don't breed to keep the drive alive. Which means that you'll have a lovely, typey purebred with less drive/energy/preoccupation than a dog whose parents and grandparents and etc. have been doing their bred-for work.

    I'm sure that in show lines you will still have dogs born that exhibit quite a bit of drive, just as in working lines you will likely have dogs that don't have the correct amount of drive necessary.

    And since there is such a great divide in so many breeds, if you wanted a particular look for a just-pet, then you could go either show with less drive or find a working off-shoot that wasn't up to working snuff.

  • 12345
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Would it matter what side of the fence?

    To me, yes. I am with your father. Talking about working breeds like the GSD, part of what the breed IS is their working temperament. If you don't want a dog with strong drives, don't get that breed. I am opposed to watering down breeds because someone wants a Lab is a GSD body (I love labs, just different personality). It's like having a sports car with a plain old engine (sorry don't know cars). Sure it looks pretty but it just doesn't drive like it should.

    I am not saying GSDs should ONLY work. I have a working line GSD that is a pet. They just arent your average pet and some concessions have to be made (although i cant ever see a breed like a working Mal as a pet) But when breeding, the goal should be to produce a dog that conforms to the standard, both in conformation AND working ability. It IS what the breed is. If you don't like the sharpness of a workingline GSD, choose another breed.

    Is temperament affected if you breed only show dogs...from generation to generation...??

    Yes! Temperament is hereditary. If you are not breeding dogs that have the correct temperament, you are producing dogs without the correct temperament.

    Here is an example I gave in another question. I selected this dogs because I also had stack photos but no need for them here. Watch. Tell me if you see a difference.

    This is the German Sieger winner 2009, Vegas du Haut Mansard. German Seiger is basically showing but the dogs do have to have some working ability, but the focus is primarily on showing. Titles are a formality. As long as the dog is good enough to title...

    Youtube thumbnail

    2008 WUSV 2nd place (I couldn't find a stack pic of the winner) Satoris Gator WUSV is the World Schutzhund competition. Keep in mind even working dogs have to pass a breed survey to be able to breed. So focus is on both working ability and conformation (although not as heavily)

    Youtube thumbnail


    Even when the focus is put on conformation, not ignoring working ability completely, there is a difference.

    I have asked on GSD boards for video of an AKC show GSD doing some type of protection work and can't find any to compare.

    This is just my opinion. Not saying I am right, just how I see things.

    Source(s): I hope you know how painful this was to type on my phone
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Show breeders don't NEED health. Sure, some good ones breed for it but they don't need a dog to be healthy when the average show career ends well before a dog is 5 or 6. Working breeders need a dog who's functional well into it's latter years. What good is a 5 thousand dollar dog with 10 thousand dollars of training who develops hip dysplasia at the age of 5? You wouldn't have much business breeding dogs with such flaws. We're forced to breed with health, stability, nerves and working ability tied for #1...looks are #2 behind those goals. -edit- Also in my opinion, a dark, straight backed, fierce eyed GSD from working lines is 20 times more handsome than some pale hock kneed American show mutt or a big red banana backed German show line dog.

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  • Jessie
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    My family has bred, shown and hunted with English Setters for decades. In this breed, you do see a very significant divide between working and show dogs, even though there is one breed standard. There's such a significant divide that some laypeople actually believe that Laverack and Llewellin are distinct breeds, although they are not.

    There should be no difference between the working and show lines.

    You are getting into whether breeders only breed for physical conformation or whether they actually breed for the purpose of the dog, which includes its temperament.

    Theoretically, even those goals should not differ differ greatly. The form and temperament support the function. (Coloring or preferred markings are another matter, unless clearly associated with health defects.)

    Breed clubs write the standards used by AKC, and they are also responsible for policing judges who put up crap dogs.

    But in my family's breed, I can tell you what's happened.

    Show breeders sometimes are too hung up looks and don't always produce good hunters. Some don't even test for hunting abilities by working the dogs in the field (many do, but far from all of them.) They do tend to strenuously test for health concerns in the breed.

    Working breeders may or may not produce good hunters, but they have far higher rates of hip dysplasia, deafness, hypothyroidism and foul temperaments. Their dogs are sometimes barely recognizable as English Setters, the conformation is so poor (and their careers as hunters are limited by the health and conformation issues). So neither side is getting it right IMO. But I wouldn't buy a 'field' setter on a bet, as I don't want to watch it suffer completely avoidable health issues.

    Source(s): mb
  • 10 years ago

    In my experience with Weimaraners the ones bred from long lines of show dogs do not have the same hard driven hunt instinct as the ones bred from hunting lines.

    My friend has a dog with many many Ch titled dogs in her line. She is a wonderful dog. She is very well conformend and has a very nice attitude. However she is not much in the field. She will go out and run and have fun but she does not have the hard driven hunt desire like my dogs.

    I have a female from some fantastic lines some show but most are hunt titles. She loves to hunt. I am not sure but I think she would not do well in the show ring. Not that she has bad conformation just not her thing.

  • 10 years ago

    I show and breed Australian Shepherds, I notice a huge difference between the working dogs and the show bred dogs. Not only in structure but in the instincts and the mind.

    The show bred aussies tend to have a more laid back personality, bigger bone structure, and tend to be put together very well [as to the breed standard]. My show dogs can be lazy and sleep on the couch or go play for hours outside. They would rather lick strangers to death then growl or be sketchy with them. All my dogs have been tested and have herding instinct, and herd quite well.

    I have noticed that the working bred dogs of the same breed tend to be smaller in stature or oversized, they dont always have their dewclaws removed or their tails docked. Their ears can be prick or down... they also tend to have askew markings that we wouldnt consider show ring desirable, they dont always have a full white collar, or they have incorrect markings. Their drive to herd is alot stronger, they can be nippers, often wary of strangers and very protective of their family and or stock. These dogs always seem to need a job to keep them from getting into trouble.

    At the same time the stock dogs seem a bit a bit quicker on their feet and in their mind then my dogs. But in the show ring I cannot see one of these dogs placing over a show bred animal.

    Hope that helps

  • 10 years ago

    In my chosen breed, the Gordon Setter, the 'show bred' dogs are normally known to be a little mellower, more laid back, while the 'field bred' dogs are more driven, more active. Of course, the BEST breeders do both. But is I were looking for a pet, I would lean toward the show bred bloodlines. The dogs bred strictly for field are extremely intense and are not happy unless they are working. I also prefer the look of a show bred Gordon, a little larger, bigger bone, more coat.

    I am lucky; my breed has many dedicated breeders who breed for both.

  • Well I appreciate your dads view point however, in the modern world I can honestly tell you not a lot of folks are running a herd of sheep. Though on that one episode of Dogs 101 I watched about Collies they featured an Amish Puppymill breeder and come to think of it they had sheep, I should have gotten my Collie from them- darn!

    Seriously, most breeds are not around now to do their jobs, they are here to be pets.

    I have to say you are hard pressed to find a Rough or Smooth Collie that herds well. They usually have instinct, but not much past that.

    My Collie is five generations of show dogs with only one performance title on a dog in the fifth generation.

    However that has not affected her ability to be a top notch performance dog including having a herding title as well.

    I have not seen the Collie temperament adversely affected by it not being used to herd sheep. The breed is still gentle and easy to train an reliable around people and other animals.

    As for my other breed Pomeranians- originally bred as a Sled dog- I have scoured the Iditarod records and the internet and can not find one single Pomeranian sled team...............sigh


    Poemranians who are ALMOST sled dogs!!!!

    ADD- DUTCH- even though an edit puts my brilliant post at the bottom, I would really really really really love one of your underwear modeling pics, preferably one where you are also cavorting with the Dolphins. Is it warm in here or is it just me?

  • ?
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Red & Black dogs that run in circles are not German Shepherds. They are physically bred to an extreme of the standard...and in no way, shape or form do they have the "inner" standard. They might as well call them they are just as closely related to them. For showing specifically, I'd get a show dog. For ANYTHING else, you're best off with something that does what it is supposed to do. You're much more likely to get a stable and somewhat predictable temperament.

    Source(s): TV Evangelist, dolphin trainer and haines underwear model
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